Apart from the joy that Eid and Ramadan brings, the Muslim community in the wider Canterbury region had another great reason to celebrate last month with the much-awaited opening of Ashburton Masjid, just 85 km South of Christchurch.

This is now the fourth Masjid in the South Island. Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch, already have one each.

Interestingly, and a testimony to how all religions co-exist peacefully in New Zealand, the Ashburton Masjid is located at 139 Archibald Street in Ashburton, the site of the old Tinwald Methodist Church. Apart from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Fiji, Muslims in Ashburton hail from Egypt, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, Singapore, and Palestine; with the total number exceeding 70.

Led by the Ashburton Muslim Association (AMAN), which was incorporated last year, the Muslim community across New Zealand under the leadership of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), raised over 50 percent of the purchase price to have early possession of the building – well in time for last month’s Eid. AMAN is hopeful of raising the rest of the money – almost $200,000 – within the next few months and has started fund-raising for the same.